The Most Expensive Coffee in the World
Coffee is one of the most popular drinks in the world. Millions of people around the world drink coffee every day. Some people may like to drink it in the morning to gear up the day, while some will drink it for enjoyment. Coffee is sourced from all over the world. Different places produce different quality of coffee and prices ranged from a few dollars per pound to more than hundred dollars per pound. The most expensive coffee in the world does not come from Europe, South America or Central America, it comes from Indonesia. The name of this coffee is Luwak coffee.
Luwak coffee, it is one of the most unique and expensive coffee in the world. The name luwak is derived from the Indonesian meaning of Asian Palm Civet. Luwak coffee is mainly produced on the islands of Sumatra, Java, Bali and Sulawesi. Due to its popularity, it is also now available in Philippines, Vietnam and East Timor.
Young coffee berries
What is so special about Luwak coffee? Unlike ordinary coffee, luwak coffee is made from the beans of coffee berries which has been consumed and digested by the Asian Palm Civet. Surprisingly, when the civet eats the berries, the beans are then defecated keeping its original shape. Then, the beans will go through process of cleaning, drying, light roasting and brewing after which the beans will have an aromatic taste with much less bitterness.
Ripe Coffee Berries
The history of Luwak coffee came about in the 18th century where Dutch established coffee plantations in their colony in the Dutch East Indies islands of Java and Sumatra. During that time, the Dutch prohibited the locals to taste the coffee. Due to their curiosity and desireness, they found undigested coffee beans consumed by luwak and clean, roast and grind it to make their own coffee beverage. The luwak coffee then spread to the Dutch plantation owners and they loved it. Even on that era, luwak coffee was expensive due to its unique and unusual process.
My recent trip to Bali, Indonesia provides me the opportunity to try this infamous Luwak coffee. It is available almost anywhere in Bali. It is seems to be very commercialize due to its popularity. Our guide took us to one of the coffee house near Ubud. There, I was given a brief tour and explanation on how luwak coffee is made. Beside the coffee shop, they planted a few coffee trees. From coffee flower to coffee berry, the farm has it all. They even have a live Asian Palm Civet in the captivity. The furry civet was taking a nap, probably had too much coffee berries for breakfast.
The raw coffee berries are red in colour. After digestion process, coffee seeds are still intact in a form of civet’s stool. It does look quite disgusting and it is hard to believe it is so priceless.
Then after the cleaning and drying process, the colour of beans then changed to a light bright yellow colour. The colour of the beans is very similar to the colour of the ground peanuts.
The civet cat sleeping.
Then the coffee beans will be roasted and grind to powder form. A pound of this powder form can fetch more than dollars in certain places. However, in Indonesia it is still cheaper than others. I ordered a cup of Luwak coffee and I was given free tasting on other different coffees available there. The Luwak coffee costs around RM 25.
The taste is definitely more aromatic than the usual coffee. The aroma is rich and the coffee taste is thick. It is an enjoyable experience. For coffee lovers, this is heavenly.
The coffee house sells other variety of coffee such as “male” coffee, ginger coffee and the common Javanese coffee. Luwak coffee is sold in powder form only. A 50g Luwak Coffee is selling for around RM 100 or 300,000 Indonesian Rupiah. Many tourists filled up their bags with this fame coffee.
It was enjoyable to taste the most expensive coffee in the world in Bali. Though it is commercialized, it is still cheaper than many other places in the world. I wouldn’t mind stopping over to one of the coffee shops for Luwak coffee on my next trip to Bali. Luwak coffee definitely lives up to its expectations.